Norway has decided to suspend all scheduled bilateral military activities with Russia until the end of May 2014, Defence Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide has announced.
-Norway condemns Russia's annexation of the Ukrainian Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the use of armed force in Ukraine. This is a clear violation of international law and an unacceptable course of action that must have consequences. Norway has therefore informed Russian authorities of its decision to suspend all planned bilateral military activities between Norway and Russia until the end of May 2014. At that point we will make a renewed assessment of any subsequent planned activities in light of developments in the situation in Ukraine as well as any further actions taken by the Russian government. We will also discuss any further suspension with our NATO allies, says Norwegian Minister of Defence Ms. Ine Eriksen Søreide.
In line with previous announcements Norway will suspend its participation in the planned naval exercise “Northern Eagle”, as well as any preparations for the exercise. Also affected are a number of other planned activities, including a visit by a high-ranking Russian military commander as well as a port visit by the Russian Navy. Norway will also postpone the visit of the Russian Minister of Defence, Mr. Sjoigu, that had been scheduled for April 2014.
The suspension of planned military activities is in accordance with the actions taken by several of our closest allies as well as our Nordic neighbours, the Defence Minister says.
As a neighbour of Russia, it is important for Norway to retain its cooperation with Russia in areas such as Search and Rescue, maritime safety, as well as Coast Guard and Border Guard collaboration. This is to ensure the safety of all parties at sea in the High North, as well as preserving stability and predictability in our immediate region, Defence Minister Søreide says.